My alarm woke me up at 4:14 am. I instinctively hit the snooze but it started sprinkling a few minutes later and that got me out of my unprotected bed in a hurry.
I finished packing up beneath the boughs of a nearby pine tree, slugged some coffee and warmed my innards with oatmeal, and then took off for my earliest start of the trip at 5 am.
The rain and wind picked up and the temperature dropped, creating an exhilarating environment for me to begin my day's work.
I began shivering and my hands became numb. I made exaggerated movements with my arms and walked hard so I wouldn't succumb to a lowering of my core temperature.
I almost couldn't believe my eyes. I saw a familiar tent and sure enough it was my pals from both the PCT and the Appalachian Trail, LostNFound and Smiley.
I hadn't seen them in ages, I mean hundreds of miles, I think at least a month. Their company warmed my heart and the coffee warmed my hands and belly.
Thanks you guys!!!
The rain soon stopped and the parting clouds were reflected in the puddle laden trail.
I entered the park boundary and was making great time.
I ate some lunch along the ridge line and called my parents to let them know I would be early.
By 4 pm I completed my physical challenge.
And soon thereafter, was joyfully reunited with my mom and dad.